Northside Blog

Humble & Hungry: March 31

Scripture “When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.” Luke 23:48 They Will Look on the One They Have Pierced Whatever else we may take from this little verse, it’s clear that the crowd which gathered to see Jesus crucified (quite literally, “to behold a spectacle”) returned home deeply troubled. I wonder just what they were thinking, don’t you? It was a Jewish crowd, one... Read More

Hungry & Humble: March 30

Scripture The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” - Luke 23:47 Missional Dying  As he has for all of us, Jesus Set the Table for this centurion by entrusting his spirit to the Father when he died. In this way, right up to his last breath, Jesus remained a teacher. His final words became a catalyst for the centurion who, moved by all of this, concluded Jesus must have been innocent, that he was, in fact, a... Read More

Hungry & Humble: March 29

Scripture Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 One Last Breath Prayer As we begin Holy Week, before I say a word about this text, I just have to pause for a moment. The Son of God, after all, has died. So please, pause with me. Please allow this to sink in ... Jesus, the Breath-Giver, was present with the Father at creation (Colossians 1:16) and therefore... Read More

Humble & Hungry: March 26

Scripture Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul, a Sinner? Throughout this series, we’ve focused on what Jesus and others noticed as the crucifixion unfolded. For example, Jesus was tuned in to the women who were mourning as he ascended the hill of execution. The religious rulers, on the other hand, saw an attempt to unseat their authority coming to its... Read More

Humble & Hungry: March 25

Scripture Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The Ultimate Garden Spot Just what comes to mind when you hear the word “paradise”? An exotic getaway? Worry-free living? A private beach? What? Actually, “paradise” was a word used for walled gardens among the ancient Persians, so reminiscent of Genesis 2, where we read about the Garden of Eden, a safe, lush garden with plants and animals,... Read More

Humble & Hungry: March 24

Scripture “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” Luke 23:42 A Dying Wish Do you ever find yourself praying this dying man’s prayer: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”? I love the sound and simplicity of it. In fact, the verse is set to a simple Taize tune whose tracks run river-deep in my head & heart.  What seems so astonishing here is that the crucified man who made this request, a man... Read More

Humble & Hungry: March 23

Scripture “But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’” Luke 23:40-41 Compassion Compassion enters deeply into the pain of others in order to remind them that they are not alone. I hear such compassion in this criminal’s voice, don’t you? “This man has done... Read More

Humble & Hungry: March 22

Scripture “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’” Luke 23:39 Harsh Words for Jesus Have you ever seen a person die? Heard them draw their last breath? It’s such a holy moment. Grief-filled? Yes. Emotionally draining? Of course. But above all holy, because the one dying is entering into a realm of mystery none of us really knows or understands. Sure, we’ve read the articles, and... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 19

Scripture Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34 “Father, Forgive Them” as Breath Prayer As we trace the past progressive verbs in this text (Greek “imperfects”), it sounds like a conversation was emerging from the cross, the gist of which runs something like this: “Jesus kept saying, ‘Father, please forgive them; they don’t understand what they’re... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 18

Scripture “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 Restoration is possible Years ago, I served on a restoration team for a friend in ministry who had made some poor choices. (No, it wasn’t a sex scandal.) Having lost his job, at his own initiative we met together weekly in order to explore what had happened, why it had happened, and what could be done to bring healing... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 17

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32   St. Patrick’s Legacy Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget to wear green. Patrick’s story is remarkable. Captured by Irish pirates from his native England as a fifteen-year-old boy, he was taken to the northwest of Ireland where he served as a shepherd-slave. And here the formerly wayward Patrick grew up spiritually. Each day... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 16

Scripture “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ - and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5   Letting History Be History The twin towers of forgiveness are really pretty simple. Forgiveness is first about a kind of surgical removal of whatever separates people from God, as well as what separates people from each other. Scripture calls this agent of separation... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 15

Scripture "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats … by his wounds we are healed. " (1 Peter 2:23-24, emphasis added)   Hidden Joy In his woundedness, Jesus became a source of life for others, and he did this by entering into our woundedness, by becoming one of us. As he absorbed the pain of the cross, he showed us something about suffering we could not otherwise have seen: joy is often hidden in... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 12

Scripture: “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I stay.” (Ruth 1:16)   “Membership” As I pondered the Bible’s Humble & Hungry in preparation for this week’s final devotion, people like Moses and Esther came to mind.  But, with the exception of Jesus, no one stood higher on this list than Ruth. At times I well up with tears (as I am at this very moment) just thinking about her unflinching tenacity, her sacred love for Naomi,... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 11

Scripture: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.” (Luke 23:28-29)   Empathy for Sons and Daughters Within a generation of Jesus’ death, the revolutionary sons of Jerusalem’s daughters were impaled on Roman crosses lining the streets outside the city as a warning to all... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 10

Scripture: “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)   Just What Kind of Weakness are We Talking About Here? While the words are original to Paul, Jesus surely could have used them. “When I am weak” (tortured, humiliated, spat upon, mocked, stripped naked, crucified), “then I am strong” (refusing to buckle, forgiving my accusers,... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 9

Scripture: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.” (Matthew 23:38)   The Power of Shame Has the stubborn refusal of an addict to give up their habit or the hateful and uncommunicative party in a marriage gone bad ever left you aching, I mean physically... Read More

Humble & Hungry - March 8

Scripture: “For I resolved to know nothing among you while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2) Why a Cross? The late British pastor John Stott once observed that the early church “wished to commemorate as central to their understanding of Jesus neither his birth nor his youth, neither his teaching nor his service, neither his resurrection nor his reign, nor his gift of the Spirit, but his death, his crucifixion.” Of all the... Read More